APPLETON, Wis. – Every 38 seconds, someone dies from cardiovascular disease, and heart disease is the number one killer of women.
This Friday is National Wear Red Day, meant to draw attention to American Heart Month.
The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement promotes awareness of the risk factors for heart disease and encourages people to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Appleton cardiologist Dr. Carrie Chapman says women often don’t consider heart disease or stroke to be their biggest health threat. She says women are different from men in the symptoms of a heart attack.
“Typically, they are going to have some other associated symptoms, some shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness, and often nausea to go with it,” she explains. “I think many people expect that they’re going to get intense chest pain, and that is frankly just not true, especially with women.”
Chapman says it’s important to take steps to be healthy, because 80 percent of cardiac events in women can be prevented with healthy choices in diet, fitness and lifestyle.
Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of one in three women. Chapman says it’s important that people get moving.
“We are so sedentary, and that unfortunately has led to so many risk factors,” she points out. “Of course, it’s led to an increase in heart disease in our country.
“If we could convince everybody to get walking 30 minutes a day, I think we’d see a lot less heart disease in our country.”
Chapman says choosing a healthy diet can be a real challenge in Wisconsin because of its heritage of beer and brats. But she says the key is moderation.
“I’m a Wisconsinite,” she states. “I like to root on the Badgers and the Packers and I’m guilty of a brat and a beer every now and then, but most days of the week I try to follow heart-healthy principles, and if you do it most of the time, you can splurge on that one occasion.”
You can find plenty of tips for living a healthier lifestyle at heart.org.